By  on September 14, 2007

NEW YORK — Physicians Formula, the company that ignited the mineral makeup trend in the mass market two years ago, is bent on blazing another new trail: organic makeup.

The beauty firm divulged plans to launch the first all-natural makeup line formulated with certified organic ingredients at its first investors day, held here on Wednesday.

Physicians Formula chief executive officer Ingrid Jackel introduced the new product initiative under the code name Project Green, but was mum on product specifics. She did say both packaging and formulas were designed to be eco-friendly, and that it will be the first U.S. cosmetics line certified by Ecocert, a regulatory organization based in France.

The company will launch the natural makeup line with a range of face makeup late this year, and then steadily expand it to additional cosmetics categories. Jackel said the natural initiative ties into Physicians Formula's fundamentals of being a premium-priced, problem-solution (as opposed to fashion-driven), ultragentle brand.

She added that by 2010 the natural cosmetics effort could grow to a 100-item line, representing 30 percent of the company's product portfolio. The line, said Jackel, also may be the key to opening doors in alternative distribution channels. Jackel said the organic-ingredient-infused items will be priced slightly higher than the company's existing products.

Physicians Formula, which currently sells its wares in 2,700 stores, expects to expand its reach to a total of more than 2,900 doors next year. During the year, the company has expanded its door count in Wal-Mart, Kmart and Rite Aid, said Physicians Formula president Jeff Rogers. "I think we can double our stores and double our space," he continued, referring to the company's long-term distribution prospects.

The company, which generated net sales of $94.4 million last year, plans to introduce a total of 50 to 100 new products next year across three major initiatives, namely Project Green, Mineral Wear line extensions and new eye makeup products.

The firm expects to reach an estimated $109 million in net sales this year.

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